By By Ben Rayner • 03/11/2021 9:30 am EST
The North Madison Congregational Church is holding its annual Harvest Dinner on Saturday, November 6 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1271 Durham Road in Madison.
Reservations are required and prepayment is encouraged to simplify the pickup process. All volunteers are fully vaccinated, so safety is a priority and participants can customize their own meals, in terms of items, amounts and flavor of the pie.
Eileen McCann has been the event manager for over 10 years and said the dinner has become a valuable gathering for members and attendees.
“It’s not just the people of Madison or Killingworth who are involved in this, but people from everywhere – from New Britain or from Milford. The people of the church really have a great affection for Harvest Dinner, ”said McCann.
COVID concerns canceled last year’s dinner, so members are very excited to host again, even though it’s only a 2021 pickup event.
“This summer, when it looked like we could serve our traditional harvest dinner with take out and take out food, we were filled with hope and expectation of a return to normal,” said McCann, “But then the September spike in COVID in Connecticut made us rethink our plans.
According to McCann, the Harvest Dinner team quickly reconfigured what they could do safely based on feedback from a congregation survey and agreed to offer only take-out meals, with a new option of delivery. The event dates back to the 1920s or even earlier, according to church members.
For McCann and everyone who helps prepare and serve the meal, “The best part is the preparation, side by side,” she said. “So many people in the church love working on this harvest dinner – peeling the potatoes, peeling the apples, then baking the pies. Members love this tradition. We love to see all the generations come together and our teens invite their friends to join them in baking pies on Friday or peeling potatoes early on Saturday morning.
According to the church, members have been hosting some form of this event since the 1920s and it has become a valuable part of the organization’s outreach efforts.
“Especially in the days of COVID, we were so disconnected from each other. In fact, we’re just getting back to worship in person this coming week, so it’s exciting, ”McCann said. “It is important that our church and the Madison community get back to normal. It is important for us to bring at least some comfort to the community.
Each meal comes in a large, eco-friendly take-out container with generous portions of roast turkey, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin or cranberry muffins and cranberry relish as well as mashed rutabagas, which are grown by church members on their farm one kilometer from the church. Participants can also order whole apple or pumpkin pies or jars of the church’s famous secret recipe dressing.
The event also contributes to the church’s fundraising efforts and their missions, according to McCann.
Reservations for dinner are required and can be made by calling the church office at 203-421-3241 or emailing [email protected] with the words “Harvest Dinner” in the subject line.
New this year, customers can visit the church website www.northmadisoncc.org and order online (using Shopify) from the Harvest Dinner page.